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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N017064/1
Title: MISTRAL: Multi-scale Infrastructure Systems Analytics
Principal Investigator: Hall, Professor JW
Other Investigators:
Blainey, Dr SP Farmer, Dr D Birkin, Professor M
Tyler, Professor P Kilsby, Professor C Jenkins, Professor N
Eyre, Dr NJ Barr, Professor S Powrie, Professor W
Watson, Professor J Nicholls, Professor RJ Wu, Professor J
Preston, Professor JM
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Acciona Analysys Mason Limited (UK) ARCC
Arup (Ove Arup and Partners Ltd) (UK) Atkins Black & Veatch
BP Broadband Stakeholder Group CH2M HILL
Committee on Climate Change Costain Department for Transport
Department of Energy and Climate Change Energy Research Partnership ERP Environment Agency (Grouped)
European Investment Bank Future Cities Catapult Greater London Authority (GLA)
GTE Carbon Improbable Worlds Ltd Infrastructure Ops Adaptation Forum
Infrastructure UK Institution of Civil Engineers Institution of Mechanical Engineers
JBA Trust KPMG (UK) Lloyd's Register
Microsoft Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum Foundatio National Grid
Network Rail Newcastle City Council Northumbrian Water Ltd
OECD Ofcom Ordnance Survey
RWE Power International Satellite Applications Catapult Shell
Siemens Suez Environment Uk Limited TechUK
Thames Water Plc The Core Cities group Transport for Greater Manchester
Transport for London Transport Systems Catapult UK Power Networks
United Nations Office for Project Servic University of Oxford Volterra Partners LLP
Willis Group Ltd Zurich Global Corporate UK
Department: Environmental Change Institute SoGE
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 11 February 2016 Ends: 10 August 2020 Value (£): 5,374,638
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complexity Science Sustainable Energy Networks
Urban & Land Management Water Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles Energy
Water Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Nov 2015 Programme Grant Interviews - 11 November 2015 (Engineering) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form


National infrastructure provides essential services to a modern economy: energy, transport, digital communications, water supply, flood protection, and waste water / solid waste collection, treatment and disposal. The OECD estimates that globally US$53 trillion of infrastructure investment will be needed by 2030. The UK's National Infrastructure Plan set out over £460 billion of investment in the next decade, but is not yet known what effect that investment will have on the quality and reliability of national infrastructure services, the size of the economy, the resilience of society or its impacts upon the environment. Such a gap in knowledge exists because of the sheer complexity of infrastructure networks and their interactions with people and the environment. That means that there is too much guesswork, and too many untested assumptions in the planning, appraisal and design of infrastructure, from European energy networks to local drainage systems.

Our vision is for infrastructure decisions to be guided by systems analysis. When this vision is realised, decision makers will have access to, and visualisation of, information that tells them how all infrastructure systems are performing. They will have models that help to pinpoint vulnerabilities and quantify the risks of failure. They will be able to perform 'what-if' analysis of proposed investments and explore the effects of future uncertainties, such as population growth, new technologies and climate change.

The UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) is a consortium of seven UK universities, led by the University of Oxford, which has developed unique capability in infrastructure systems analysis, modelling and decision making. Thanks to an EPSRC Programme Grant (2011-2015) the ITRC has developed and demonstrated the world's first family of national infrastructure system models (NISMOD) for analysis and long-term planning of interdependent infrastructure systems. The research is already beng used by utility companies, engineering consultants, the Institution of Civil Engineers and many parts of the UK government, to analyse risks and inform billions of pounds worth of better infrastructure decisions. Infrastructure UK is now using NISMOD to analyse the National Infrastructure Plan.

The aim of MISTRAL is to develop and demonstrate a highly integrated analytics capability to inform strategic infrastructure decision making across scales, from local to global. MISTRAL will thereby radically extend infrastructure systems analysis capability:

- Downscale: from ITRC's pioneering representation of national networks to the UK's 25.7 million households and 5.2 million businesses, representing the infrastructure services they demand and the multi-scale networks through which these services are delivered.

- Upscale: from the national perspective to incorporate global interconnections via telecommunications, transport and energy networks.

- Across-scale: to other national settings outside the UK, where infrastructure needs are greatest and where systems analysis represents a huge business opportunity for UK engineering firms.

These research challenges urgently need to be tackled because infrastructure systems are interconnected across scales and prolific technological innovation is now occurring that will exploit, or may threaten, that interconnectedness. MISTRAL will push the frontiers of system research in order to quantify these opportunities and risks, providing the evidence needed to plan, invest in and design modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure services.

Five years ago, proposing theory, methodology and network models that stretched from the household to the globe, and from the UK to different national contexts would not have been credible. Now the opportunity for multi-scale modelling is coming into sight, and ITRC, perhaps uniquely, has the capacity and ambition to take on that challenge in the MISTRAL programme.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk